Community care minister Stephen Ladyman said this week that the
National Institute for Clinical Excellence’s proposal that four
Alzheimer’s drugs should no longer be available on the NHS could be
reversed following consultation.
He told the annual long-term care for older people conference,
held in London, that several of Nice’s preliminary recommendations
had been overturned in the past and added: “My guess is that [this
recommendation] will change.” However, he defended Nice’s
proposals, saying “for many people, evidence suggests these drugs
do not work at all”.
Although Nice has concluded the drugs are beneficial, it has
decided that the £2.50 per person per day cost of the drugs
make them too expensive for the NHS.
Nice’s proposal has been strongly opposed, with the Royal
College of Psychiatrists arguing that Nice’s latest advice on
Donepezil, Rivastigmine, Galantamine and Memantine contradicts its
The Alzheimer’s Society said it was “shocked” by the
recommendations, which could mean thousands of people being denied
the only drug treatment available to them. “Nice seems to have
concluded that people with dementia are a group of people not worth
spending money on,” said chief executive Neil Hunt.